There's nothing quite like frantic same-screen coop action. While there are many similar experiences out there across consoles and PC, nothing quite has the same combination of challenges and chaotic moments as Manic Mechanics, and the Switch is the perfect place for it.
The 25 levels offer an impressive mix of hazards and challenges to make your time in the garage even more manic, one particular favourite takes place, inexplicably, in a bowling alley, where you must avoid NPC bowlers themselves while flapping around.
In the later levels there are even more things to worry about, as you start to reassemble vehicles on a production line, where they will only accept certain missing parts in missing places. This is where the concept of communication really comes into play.
While it is possible to play Manic Mechanics yourself, unfortunately without helpful AI pals to assist you the garage can be a very big and unwieldy place – even with the ability to dash and throw items around to help speed up the repair.
The difficulty is well balanced...as getting through levels, with a bit of luck, isn’t too tough, but feeling like you’ve really got the hang of it is another story...
When combined with three friends though, it really takes the game to a new high, as you panic, rush and generally spam controls hectically, trying to beat both the cog score for the level (basically a one to three rating) and the high scores on the board.
There aren’t any individual scores, so your teamwork is what makes the magic happen, and everyone gets to revel in success together. The difficulty is well balanced though, as getting through levels, with a bit of luck, isn’t too tough, but feeling like you’ve really got the hang of it is another story.
Between levels, the overworld has some fun little elements, but no mini games or anything for you to really feel like you need to spend time there. The levels are split into fun themed zones however, and seeing the aesthetics gradually shift and that be reflected in the levels themselves is great fun.
There are a bunch of characters to choose from, but no character customisation, which might have been a nice way to take the character element up a notch without affecting gameplay.
In all the experience has just the right amount of moving parts to make each level feel different and gradually build in complexity to its chaotic and, appropriately, manic peak.
As a party game, this game slips in right alongside other games in this genre like Moving Out, Overcooked 2 and even one of our forgotten favourites – Catastronauts, as a fun time which has only a few controls to remember but takes a long time to master.
Do yourself a favour and pull into the garage to get a full multiplayer service and MOT immediately.
It’s time to save the galaxy once again, as our favourite ginger Jedi, Cal Kestis, and trusty droid companion, BD-1, return, after five years since beginning their fight against the Empire in Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, to face their greatest challenge yet.
While the landscape is even more sprawling than before, fortunately, there are mounts to help you navigate around and discover different secrets, as well as more (perhaps a few too many) shortcuts to connect the world together, as well as being able to use the meditation save areas as fast travel points.
The gameplay itself is similar to its predecessor, though perhaps with even more of a reliance on climbing around than before - though thankfully you do retain the upgraded climbing speed from the latter part of Fallen Order from the get go.
Cal continues to be both relatable and charming, but it's the adorable BD-1 who is still the true star of the show...
If puzzles, and clambering about, aren’t your bag though, you might find the experience a bit choppy, as encounters generally feel more intermittent than before. Though when you do get into a battle, especially with some of the larger creatures and sub-bosses, you’ll be glad there are a handful of new lightsaber stances to use, two of which you can equip at a time, which help keep combat fresh and dynamic throughout.
The Star Wars universe is built on its characters, and Cal continues to be both relatable and charming. While he doesn’t have the same, intense inner struggle we saw in the previous game, we can all relate to working hard and feeling as though we’re getting nowhere. But it's the adorable BD-1 who is still the true star of the show, of course, and you can even customise him in all sorts of ways this time around.
Sad news elsewhere in customisation is that the amount of poncho available for Cal himself are limited, though customisation overall has had a complete tune up. Since it is third-person, you do get a chance to see Cal’s threads in all their glory, and the character animation is fluid – especially when swapping between different saber stances.
Skill upgrades return, with a few different trees to explore, and one for every stance, so you can really double-down on being the biggest badass possible with the claymore-style, crossguard lightsaber.
On top of that are perks, which take up a different amount of slots depending on their power, and act as passive buffs for Cal, allowing for even more customisation to your specific playstyle.
The background characters are good fun as well. Our personal favourite was an aggressively Scottish able seaman called Skoova Stev, who you’ll find in various parts of the overworld searching for rare fish species, which you can then see in the aquarium back at home base.
The actual act of finding the fish is fairly mundane, as you’ll usually just stumble across him, but on each encounter he’ll reveal a little more of a long, rambling story, as well as just generally having a bit of fun with you. These sort of characters are totally ridiculous and yet 100% Star Wars.
The feel of this series, both the first game and Survivor, has always been very true to the franchise and it’s definitely one of its strengths. Joining Cal feels more meaningful because of how naturally he fits into this galaxy, and you feel like you’re making a difference, as the scale of the story is kept under control and not tied too closely to any big moments.
Whether the destination outshines the journey doesn’t really matter here, as the adventure you’re on is exciting and compelling, delivering exactly what’s promised in the most authentic feeling of being a Jedi for anyone outside the theme parks’ Galaxy’s Edge experiences.
Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of Cal and BD-1, and this is a chapter well worth Force jumping into.